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I am learning how to use an impact driver

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  • I am learning how to use an impact driver

    I recently purchased the 18V drill/driver combo.

    18-Volt Drill/Impact Driver Combo 2-Piece-R96862SB at The Home Depot

    I have never used an impact driver before. I have always just gotten by with using a drill. Sometimes on real hard wood I would predrill, then back out and drive a screw with the drill.

    In trying out this impact driver I am having some real difficulty.

    First thing I did was to toe nail some 2x4 studs to the bottom and top plates using 2-1/2" drywall screws. The drill bit slips off the screw quite frequently. Is this because I am using philips screws and I should use better screws like square or star bits? I found that I need to apply pressure as I drive - which is what I had to do with a drill.

    The impact driver comes equipped with a hex socket. However it is not magnetic or it grabs the bit, so when I point the driver down it slips off. On my regular drill I use one of these:

    Wera Stainless Rapidaptor 3888/4/1 K Universal Bit Holder for 1/4-Inch Hex Drives



    So if I put in a bit it stays. Is there some tricks I need so I can avoid dropping the bit whenever my driver is tilted downward a bit.

    Last, what is the purpose of the reverse action? Back screws out?

    I am sure I am not using it right so any tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: I am learning how to use an impact driver

    I'm not familiar with the x3 impact, but you either have to pull back or push forward on the collar and the bit should fall in and lock. You do the same to remove it, the manual should explain this.

    You still need pressure on the tool to drive screws, but hex and square screws are superior.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: I am learning how to use an impact driver

      Originally posted by Alphacowboy View Post
      I'm not familiar with the x3 impact, but you either have to pull back or push forward on the collar and the bit should fall in and lock. You do the same to remove it, the manual should explain this.

      You still need pressure on the tool to drive screws, but hex and square screws are superior.
      i think you are using the tip not a whole bit, also if phillips bit is slipping out you may have the wrong size for the screw

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: I am learning how to use an impact driver

        Ditto to everything Alphacowboy said. Additionally, I've occasionally used my impact driver to drill a hole or 2, but it's not well-suited for that. It's better to do your pre-drilling with a drill, and switch to the impact driver for driving the screws. Impact drivers require a lot less force from the operator when driving screws, and I also like the lighter weight. Alphacowboy is also dead on about the square slot/hex slot screws being easier to drive. But with a little practice, you'll learn to drive phillips heads with little difficulty. Just be sure to throw away those phillips bits when they become a little "abused". Remember too that not all bits are created equal. Some brands maintain their tips longer.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: I am learning how to use an impact driver

          Also drywall screws are for drywall. I would add #8 deck screws for blue wood or #8 plated for regular 2X4
          There is almost zero shear strength on drywall screws

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: I am learning how to use an impact driver

            Worn tips, used screws, exceptionally hard(old ) lumber, improper angle from tip to screw will all cause problems for you driving screws. Yes it takes pressure to drive screws, but normally not as much as using a drill. I've demonstrated using just one finger and thumb to drive a 3" screw, try that with a drill. As previously stated, not all bits are created equal. I currently prefer the Milwaukee brand of impact bits. The current Dewalt line does not impress me. I've previously enjoyed the Bosch bits in the 5 pack, but they are not available to me. They worked great on the impact but I snapped 3 bits in a row driving screws! I was dumbfounded. Milwaukee for the win!
            Last edited by masterbeavis; 04-27-2012, 07:18 PM.
            We don't have preventative maintenance around here, we have CRISIS MANAGEMENT!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: I am learning how to use an impact driver

              You also must use the correct driver bits!

              The cheap soft Harbor Freight and other brand driver bits will not play well
              with a quality impact driver.

              Three challenges will occur:

              1. you will bugger the screw tip
              2. you will bugger the driver tip
              3. the driver bit will become "stuck" inside the driver chuck.

              Look at McFeely's and their ACER brand of driver bits.
              Look at Milwaukee and DeWalt as they now offer harder impact ready driver bits.

              When using the impact driver you need to start slow especially with Phillips head screws.
              An impact driver has a lot of torque and until you learn how to use it properly you may also
              find yourself twisting the heads off the screws you are driving!

              Practice on a 2x4 or 2x6 with various screws and lengths.
              Depending upon what you're doing and the type wood you are using you
              may still find it wise to drill pilot holes!

              Yes, reverse is to remove the screw

              Using the correct screw for the project also is important....you never use drywall
              screws to make a deck etc. [as an example]

              If you want the driver tip to be "magnetic" look at the Jackrabbit mag-ring [only] WWW.jackrabbittool.com

              So.....the secret for successful impact driver use:

              1. use proper bits
              2. practice as it's a lot different to operate than a regular drill driver
              learn how to properly hold and use the impact driver
              3. use the correct screw for the task
              4. using an impact driver to drill holes is really not encouraged..but
              you may get away with it when doing small pilot holes..less than say 3/16"
              5. be safe eye protection is critical


              Cactus Man
              Last edited by cactusman; 04-27-2012, 12:39 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: I am learning how to use an impact driver

                Thanks to all the helpful tips, they are greatly appreciated!

                I figured out how to lock on to the bits and that's working much better. Guess I should have read the manual. It works opposite from the bit holder I have for my other drills, so that threw me off.

                I think the biggest challenge I have is control. With my other drill which I usually predrill then drive I have control on the direction and power. With the impact, sometimes I don't predrill, and if I am at a tight angle or a stud is in the way of me being able to position my hand in the optimum position, the impact very often just drive at a different angle then I intended. Predrilling may not help either, as the impact is so strong if it starts off with the wrong angle it will just go with that.

                Thanks for the suggestions to not use drywall screws. I need to remember that. I haven't done much other than hanging furring strips to the ceiling with drywall screws, so that I don't mind. However in south Florida here, I have hired a few people in the past to do framing they they all use coarse drywall screws to frame, and I got used to seeing that. Guess they shouldn't have. I think I will switch to Stax construction screws or deck screws for studs and plates. Good suggestions!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: I am learning how to use an impact driver

                  I usually nail everything with a framing nailer, but when I do use screws I always use the torx tipped deck screws. Spax screws are kind of expensive so I don't use them. I am looking into bulk buying the GSK screws though, thier fasteners are awesome.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: I am learning how to use an impact driver

                    Wow, just noticed on Amazon.com they have the Bosch combo drill/driver kit marked down to $179.

                    How would the Bosch combo drill & impact compared to the Ridgid's? I think I saw these at HD and they were $329.

                    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002BXCXHC/...0XZ3YE8F07KMMT

                    Plus they offer TWO free batteries for any 18v tools purchased. This will come with four batteries. No LSA though.

                    http://www.boschbestbuilt.com/18vpromo/
                    Last edited by miamicuse; 04-28-2012, 09:50 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: I am learning how to use an impact driver

                      Bosch makes great cordless power tools. The set for 179 comes with compact batteries which are nice to keep the tool light-weight for off-angle or overhead jobs but compact batteries don't have the battery endurance I typically need. If you can get 4 batteries then you probably will have charged ones ready whenever you need them.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: I am learning how to use an impact driver

                        Ive been using an older version of the Ridgid 18V impact for years now and I cant see any other being much better (aside from improvements in batteries and maybe more power). I regularly drive deck screws (torx and ACR phillips head), drywall screws to hang wire ties (but NOT to hang drywall....I wouldnt use an impact driver for that), etc.

                        You really do need to get decent bits, regardless of who makes the impact driver. IMHO the best bet is the one piece 2" or longer bits....these do not need a quick connect piece like you showed in the OP, rather they snap right into the hex head on the impact driver itself. Something like this: Amazon.com: Milwaukee 48-32-4602 Shockwave 2-Inch #2 Phillips Power Bit, 5-Pack: Home Improvement

                        I picked up a couple sets of the Milwaukee ShockWave impact bits when they were really cheap at HD (9.99 a set I think). I just had to add a bunch of blocking between studs for my new garage cabinets and I used the impact driver and ShockWave torx bit to drive Deckmate screws to hold up the blocking. Zero issues, didnt really need to provide much push as the screws did most of the work.

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